Chinese search engine Baidu will have a fleet of Apollo RT6 robotaxi

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Chinese search engine and artificial engine company, Baidu unveils a self-driving vehicle. The Apollo RT6 will be part of Baidu’s Robotaxi fleet. The vehicle’s steering wheel can be removed or installed for an additional charge. The vehicle is priced at 250,000 yuan ($37,000) per unit.

Image credits – The Financial Express

“This massive cost reduction will allow us to deploy tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles across China,” Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, said Thursday at the company’s Baidu World conference. “We are heading towards a future where taking a robotaxi will cost half the price of a taxi today.” Robotaxi can operate without a driver but must be preloaded with a detailed map. The design without a steering wheel allows more space for the installation of additional seats or more features. Baidu, a Chinese search engine and artificial intelligence company, unveiled its latest self-driving electric vehicle on Thursday. “This massive cost reduction will allow us to deploy tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles across China,” Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, said Thursday at the company’s Baidu World conference.

Robotaxis in China

“We are heading towards a future where taking a robotaxi will cost half the price of a taxi today.” Baidu already runs Apollo Go, an autonomous ride service using self-driving robotaxis with security personnel sitting in the driver or passenger seat. It has launched Apollo Go in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, although the service is limited to specific areas. The RT6 has also achieved industry level 4 out of five possible technology levels. This means its systems can operate without a driver but must be pre-loaded with a detailed map, limiting the areas where vehicles can operate. Lower technology levels range from cruise control, a feature that’s been available for decades, all the way down to level 3, which enables hands-free driving on the highway. Autonomous robot carts are already widely used in factories, warehouses and other tightly controlled environments.

The steering wheel-less design provides more space for the installation of additional seats or other additions, even a game console or vending machine. Baidu is best known for its search engine and online advertising services, but in recent years it has invested heavily in self-driving and artificial intelligence technology, including automated personal assistants and AI chips. China aspires to become the world leader in self-driving technology, but lags behind the United States in introducing such services. Alphabet’s Waymo began offering driverless taxi services in Phoenix, Arizona in 2020.

Credits – News9live


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